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Last Update 06/03/08
Handy Tips to Allow You to Predict the Weather

 Tired of the Weatherman's Bogus Forecasts?  The Old Saying "Red Sky at Night, Sailor's Delight, Red Sky in the Morning, Sailor Take Warning" Does Have Merit

Indicators of Bad Weather

Cumulus (Latin for "heap") clouds increase and ride lower in the sky toward evening.

Cumulus Clouds

Cirrus (Latin for "curl of hair") clouds merge into cirrostratus.

Cirrus Clouds

Cirrostratus Clouds

Clouds travel at different heights and speeds, and in opposite directions.

Clouds fly against the wind.

The sky is red at sunrise.

Yellow streaks are visible in the sky at sunset.

Smoke descends instead of rising.

Fog comes from landward direction.

Fog settles down toward the ground.

The sun looks blurry or hazy, or has a halo.

A ring around the moon -- the larger the ring, the sooner the rain will come.

Stars twinkle more than usual.

Flowers are especially fragrant.

Trees show the undersides of their leaves.

Birds fly low, or do not fly at all.

Birds are noisier than usual.

Cows huddle in the field and turn their tails toward the coming storm.

Bees stay close to the hive and will not swarm.

Insects bite more, and the bites itch more.

Snakes are more exposed, less hidden than usual.

Stone walls feel damp.

Corns and bunions throb, joints ache.

the following table is adapted from a USDA publication published in 1903, titled 
Weather Folklore and Local Weather Signs by Edward B. Garriot

Wind Direction

Barometer Reading

Weather Forecast

SW to NW 30.10 to 30.20 steady Fair with little temperature change for 1 to 2 days
SW to NW 30.10 to 30.20 rising quickly Fair and warmer, rain within 2 days
SW to NW 30.20or above, steady Continued fair with little temperature change
SW to NW 30.20 or above, falling slowly Fair with slowly rising temperature for 2 days
S to SW 30.00 or below, rising slowly Clearing within a few hours, fair for next few days
S to SE 30.10 to 30.20, falling slowly Rain within 24 hours
S to SE 30.10 to 30.20, falling quickly Increasing wind, rain in 12 to 24 hours
S to E 29.80 or below, falling quickly Severe storm within a few hours, then clearing and colder in 24 hours
SE to NE 30.10 to 30.20, falling slowly Rain in 12 to 18 hours
SE to NE 30.10 to 30.20, falling quickly Increasing winds with rain in 12 hours
SE to NE 30.00 or below, falling slowly Rain continuing 1 to 2 days
SE to NE 30.00 or below, falling quickly Rain with high winds, clearing and colder in 24 to 36 hours
E to NE 30.10 or above, falling slowly Light winds in summer, rain in 2 to 4 days.  Rain within 24 hours in winter
E to NE 30.10 or above, falling quickly Rain probable within 12 to 24 hours in summer.  Increasing winds with rain in winter
E to N 29.80 or below, falling quickly Severe gale from NE in a few hours, heavy precipitation
Swinging to W 29.80 or below, rising quickly Clearing and colder

Indicators of Good Weather

Cumulus clouds appear to dissolve and vanish.

Cumulus clouds are smaller at sundown than they were at noon.

Clouds are high -- the higher the clouds, the better the weather.

The wind is from the west.

The sky is red at sunset.

Fog comes from the direction of the ocean.

Fog rises.

Birds fly high in the sky.

Source:  Gardener's Desk Reference, Anne Halpin, 1996 ISBN 0-02-860397-4

 

 
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